Monthly Archives: November 2013

SBS Support for the Mama Tribe

Cassandra had the wonderful idea of featuring mama-run businesses in advance of Small Business Saturday.  As the consumerism reaches peak-fever at the big box stores and shopping malls, there is a movement to shop local and support our neighbors.  Not all the the listings here are local to AZ, and almost all businesses will ship…so check out these amazing mama-preneurs and consider letting them help you get your holiday shopping gift list done!

AZ Family Massage

Massage in your home for $99 !  We also offer massage classes.  Our next class is Infant Massage in the park in tempe on the 1st and Couples Massage at HA yoga on the 12th.  Connect with us on Facebook for more information about upcoming classes and events.
(480) 788-6047BLOG sbs AZFM

Breastfeeding for Boobs App

Quoted from the website:
The new app has 103 entertaining and educational three-minute videos, 350 easy to read original articles and hundreds of pictures that allow woman to identify their problems then find quick and easy solutions.  Sara Chana [IBCLC] provides accurate conventional medical advice through this app as well as hundreds of natural alternatives for woman of the ‘Green-Generation.’BLOG sbs SCBFB

Go Go Natural

At GoGoNatural Save 20% off storewide with the code BLFR13
This year’s doorbusters (coupon does not stack on these) DinkleDooz 50% off, Select GroVia Buy 2 Get 1 Free, SoftBums Bamboo Starter Pack, Rockin Green Special Edition, and more! Giveaways daily!
Check out all the specials for the Friday – Sunday HEREBLOG sbs GGN logo

Modern Betty

Top selling product – featured by FitPregnancy:

Modern Mommy Boutique

Baby scales, certified lactation consultant, nursing classes & information, products to increase milk supply, nursing tanktops & camisoles, pajamas, lingerie, maternity & nursing clothing, huge selection of slings & baby carriers, stylish diaper bags, award winning infant toys
Facebook Page
480-857-7187BLOG sbs MMB

Moon Dreams Music Recording Group, LLC

We are an Independent Record Label specializing in lullaby music for babies and their parents.  Our Cd, “Carousel Dreams – A Collection of Lullabies” is the winner of a Parents’ Choice Award, iParenting Media, and National Parenting Publications Award.  Our soothing collection of lullabies includes music and vocals, interwoven with the soft gentle sounds of night sounds, the ocean and gentle breezes.  Also included are lyrics to each song.  Along with our music, we also have a Collection of gifts with our logos and cd art.  We are currently working on new music to be released shortly.
Gifts:*/BLOG sbs MDM

Shannon’s Cloth & More

We sell reusable cloth items like mama cloth pads, nursing pads, un-paper towels, cloth wipes, and more! Make going Eco-friendly cute, functional, and affordable!!!!
480-686-3298 sbs SC&M

Surrender Birth Services

Doula & Christian Childbirth Educator in East Valley & Phoenix, AZ
Gift Certificates Available 

Cassandra’s Favorite e-stores:

Graphic Tees:

Digital Art Prints:

Handmade Cards & Custom Invitations: – local AZ

Artist & Band Merchandise
 – local AZ

Leather Baby Moccasins

“fashion-forward shirts with eye-catching designs”

“online children’s boutique of modern and vintage clothing”

Our Shameless Plug:

And last, but not least, please consider sharing our love of birth, babies and breastfeeding by gifting logowear from our Cafe Press Shop:

Happy Holiday Shopping to you!  At the end of the day, remember that our families will remember the memories more than they will the gifts.  It’s okay if it doesn’t all get done in a day.  So breathe in deeply, exhale and look at the wonder around you from your children’s perspective…this is a magical time of year.

Do you have a business that should be on this list?  Do you have a favorite shop or vendor that should be on our list?  Please email your submissions to sweetpeafamilies{at}gmail{dot}com.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Wishing you and your Sweet Peas a very blessed day.  We enjoyed doing lots of baking today!  I would love to read about some of your holiday traditions.  One of the beautiful things about growing a family is that it is never too late to start your own!  What did you do today?

Wordless Wednesday: Thankfulness

What a wonderful day to reflect and prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Thank you to those of you that shared your family images with us.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours <3

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BLOG ww 1127 B6From our family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday Tips: Heart-shaped Apple Snacks

Does anyone else out there like to shake it up a little and keep things “fresh” for their Sweet Peas?  I do.  However, our fun has to be fast and easy.  Here is a fun way we have been enjoying apples.

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I have been using a heart-shaped cookie cutter from William-Sonoma to make these fun mini-hearts for our kiddos to snack on.  Served fresh, you can pair them with spreads (our favorite is the Cocoa Almond spread from Trader Joe’s), dips, or cheese.

Here is how we do it.  I included the ruler size because I am a doubter.  When someone writes a recipe or makes a video and tells me they used 1/4″ slices, I want to know if they are guessing, or they really mean it.  No guesswork involved for our friends:

First, slice an apple into 1/4″ rounds.  BLOG tt apples.3

The diameter of the apples that yielded double hearts from one slice were 3 and 3/8 inches in diameter.  These were Jonagolds that we bought from Costco.BLOG tt apples.2

Now that we have the OCD part out of the way, here comes the fun stuff 🙂  The how-to is under the pictures, in the captions.

Make star-centered hearts by centering the shape cutter on the apple.

Make star-centered hearts by centering the shape cutter on the apple.

To get two hearts out of the same round, start by placing the wedge of the shape cutter over the stem of the apple.

To get two hearts out of the same round, start by placing the wedge of the shape cutter over the stem of the apple.

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Then move the shape up and cut your second heart.

You can serve them plain, or with a spread, dip or cheese:

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Or, you can add cinnamon and sugar and serve them raw:

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Night Owl’s favorite way is to have “hot apples” – he loves them warm out of the oven 🙂

Charger was my big helper on picture day - he helped brush them with melted butter, and then we sprinkled them with our cinnamon-xylitol blend.

Charger was my big helper on picture day – he helped brush them with melted butter, and then we sprinkled them with our cinnamon-xylitol blend.

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These were baked for 10 minutes in our 350 Fahrenheit convection oven.

From start to finish, the raw version takes about ten minutes.  The hot apples took about 30 minutes to prep with little hands help, and then 10 minutes in the over.  We snacked on the scrap edges while we were prepping, and saved them to munch on throughout the morning.

I think this kind of project is perfect for Sweet Peas who want to help in the kitchen, especially on big cooking days like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.  It’s enough for them to really help, without taking a chance at inadvertently having one of your major dishes altered in a way that may test your gentleness when you are feeling “perfect” pressure.

It also makes a delightful Sunday morning treat.  The “hot apple” version is great for cooler weather.  I can see us doing this with different shapes as the seasons change.  Why buy guilty gummy treats infused with chemicals and questionable ingredients when you can turn apple slices into fun shapes?  Who says that fresh can’t be fun??

As you may have noticed, this treat is also gluten-free.  I can see us making these to take along when we go out to dinner, party, etc., and we want to ensure our kiddos get a “safe”, yummy treat.  It’s simple enough that we could bring enough to share, and also budget-friendly so we could do so without straining the wallet.

I hope you enjoy making these with your Sweet Peas.  Leave us a comment and let us know how you added your own moxie to the idea 🙂

Monday Musings: Living Gentle

This is one of Cassandra’s favorite quotes that she shared with me over the weekend.  As it turns out, it is exactly what I needed today.  We have a second child down with a crazy fever.  Lying in bed with her today, cradling, nursing…when I had fun art projects planned, writing and posting to do…ugh.

This sense of UGH could have permeated our whole day if I had let it.  Instead, I am just breathing.  Breathing before I speak.  Breathing before I write.  Breathing as our nursling latches again.

And so far, so good.  I have caught myself a couple of times and changed my tone.  I chose to be flexible and simply set-up the art project without participating.  The work that resulted was great…one more confirmation that letting our children think and create for themselves is a great thing!

So, on this day that could have been full of the side effects of my disappointment, the kiddos have had a pretty decent day.  Puma made nutritious smoothies that also turned into popsicles, the only thing Otter has eaten today, besides chocolate chips.  Now Puma and Coach Bruss are making chocolate chip cookies (which was supposed to be “our” thing), and it will probably turn into the second thing Otter eats – LOL.  I can hope that we can all look at today and learn that gentleness and self-control are possible, even when things don’t go according to plan.

The silver lining?  Thank goodness that Otter is still nursing.  She is refusing ibuprofen and most food, so skin-to-skin, liquid food is just what our toddler needs right now.  Everything else has gone on, the world is not going to end because I didn’t get to do what I had planned today…nourishing and nursing this sweet pea back to health is definitely the best choice I could make for today.

Thank you, Parenting Wild Things, for the great mantra and the beautiful image.  HERE is a link to the post that featured this image.

Attachment Parenting: Responding With Sensitivity

I was so glad to be able to attend another monthly meeting of the Attachment Parenting Support Group this month.  I always learn something, and there is usually an a-ha moment or two!

“Responding With Sensitivity” can be a way to prevent the need to discipline when behaviors are a result of acting out.  Remove the need to act out, and you remove the need to discipline for that instance.  It can also circumvent or redirect behavior if a child is already moving down the path to needing help to make kinder choices themselves.  Meeting them where they are at, at their level, listening to what they need, redirecting if necessary – those actions from the parent that honor the child can make all the difference in their world.

Here are the three behaviors shared with us in yesterday’s meeting by Amanda, our AP facilitator in the Phoenix area:

1.  Show interest in your child’s activities and participate enthusiastically in child-directed play.
This made so much sense.  We can spend the day telling our children what to do: go here, go there, do this, stop that…I can see how it gets to be too much.  It must be so rewarding as a child to feel like your word counts because for once, one of your favorite adults is happy to do what you want to do.

2.  Some children enjoy programs where parents are not included.
There are children who will thrive in a home environment, there are others that will enjoy a group environment.  If your child is one who craves groups, then we as parents need to gauge our child’s readiness to spend significant time away from us.  Our other responsibility is to learn about the type of support provided by the adult caregivers.  How do they run the classroom/group? What are their expectations?  How do they set boundaries?  Are those things (and more!) in line with your beliefs?  One thing that was not brought up in the meeting, but that comes up because of my own backstory is to ask if the care providers have been trained, screened, and/or cleared for child care.

3.  Babies’ brains are extremely immature – the more you soothe them, the more they learn about soothing themselves. 
This particular facet piqued my interest, especially after Tuesday’s post.  I am intrigued by the idea that the more they are comforted, the more skills they have at doing the comforting.

The simplicity of this principle really struck me, and confirmed once again, that AP can work because you are respecting your child as a whole person who has needs, however they are able (or unable) to communicate them.  It is our role as parents to slow down, listen with our hearts as well as our ears, and meet that child where they are.

When I think of, “Responding With Sensitivity”, it means that we are intentional about nurturing, comforting, and being kind to our children.  Not just when we can see them start heading to a melt down – all the time.  To me, it means I want to learn to move through the day with the mindset that we are meant to nurture, comfort and be kind *always*.

I know whenever I hear our child crying or whining, my first thought, especially when I am tired, is typically to think, “What now?”  AP teaches that any behaviors out of their ordinary usually indicate that they have a need that isn’t being filled.  I am training myself to learn to ask, “Which need is not being met?”  I know that they are not setting out to ruin or manipulate when I am rested…I want to remember that when I am tired, too.

With an infant, the needs are pretty easy to identify after four kiddos…wet, hungry, tired, in need of more/less touch?  I am having a harder time – maybe you have a suggestion to help me formulate a toddler list when they are not always able to use words.  So far my checklist includes: hungry, tired, eye contact and attention…what else should I add to my list?

Our older kids are “easy” to decipher thanks to spoken language and body language .  Now I am waiting for the hormones to kick in and make me learn AP skills for tweens and teens…

I am still pondering the sleep statement.  I wonder if that is why some babies rock when they are tired?  And it brings up the never-ending debate of nature versus nurture.  Can I teach my “high-needs” child to soothe themselves?  Can we nurture them out of their nature?  Do we want to?

So for now, sleep will continue to be something I am just happy to “roll” with (pardon the pun!).  If it works for our family, we will go with it.  If it doesn’t, we will try other ideas, until we find the next something that works “for now”.

The big a-ha moment from yesterday:  AP takes time.  A Lot Of Time.  Time I don’t always want to take because our “demand change now tape” from my reflexes takes over.  I worked so hard to never bark out orders at my adult staff and co-workers – why would I treat my children with any less respect?  Unfortunately, my reality is that it is SO much faster to bark a directive than it is to breathe, reflect, and get down on our child’s eye level and nurture them.  However, seeing the moments when an older child remembers to breathe instead of react, the time when they look a sibling in the eye to ask, “are you okay”…those are the rays of promise that efficiency *is not* everything.  Nurturing with love and respect is worth it every time.

So I will continue to try to erase the “fast” tape and replace it with the “intention” tape.  I can see it’s worth it, and I want to allow our children the space to know that they are worth my time.

I will close with this video that I ran across today.  It was put together by Rachel Rainbolt, M.A., and it offers more insight on the biology of infant sleep:


Do you want to keep up with information about the Attachment Parenting of Phoenix group?  It is facilitated by Amanda Santana, and meetings are held the 3rd Thursday of the month.  You can find her at Nurtured Beginnings on Facebook HERE

P.S. We are having a great opportunity to try out Responding With Sensitivity today.  We have one Sweet Pea with a fever that hasn’t broken, two tired parents, and three other Sweet Peas who want and need attention…definitely time to breathe, speak with kindness, and parent with the intention of meeting everyone individually and respond to that particular child’s needs.

Wordless Wednesday: Family Stories

Here are some images that I feel epitomize our family, plus a lovely alumni student/reader share.  Thank you, J, for your generosity!

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An SPB alumni family

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Classic: Bruss is proud as punch and ready for a Proud Papa picture, I can’t take my eyes off the baby!!

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Meeting Night Owl for the first time – she did then, and still loves, holding babies

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Puma meets Charger for the first time; Night Owl isn’t sure what to make of things yet – it’s first time being “big”

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Puma is holding Charger while Daddy and Night Owl get a good look at our newest family member of 2009.

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Wide awake and enjoying our newest family member after our home birth…

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And Coach Bruss, sans endorphins, is wiped out – snuggling with Charger this time.

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Summer 2012

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Halloween 2013


Sleep Happens

I was contacted by a sleep coach recently.  I went to her website, read through it, contacted some IBCLC’s I know, thought about it some more, and then after much contemplation, I have a path forward.  Now I just have to write back.

In the meantime, I have run across a couple of blogs that talk about sleep, I have revisited my Pinterest board to find articles about sleep, and reflected on what I know from my experience, and the insight I have into Cassandra’s journey with night nursing.

I don’t think anybody will ever convince me that training your infant child to sleep through the night is a good thing.  Here are two articles I like to share that explain why getting an infant to sleep through the night, when it hasn’t been a milestone they reach on their own, can actually be dangerous.

  • THIS one from Organic Baby Atlanta
  • THIS one from Yahoo! Voices

A student’s answer in reply to THIS post I shared inspired me to write today’s blog post.  Here is her comment (shared with permission):

“I don’t agree with this article being so adamant about it being normal to be so tired and an emotional wreck. I think that’s dangerous to say; because if you feel like that, you need support, and to adjust your lifestyle to compensate. Not just say it’s normal and suffer.”

So while you will probably not find me as a sleep training advocate, I do agree that families have to have a strategy to get the sleep they need so all the adults are fully-functioning during the waking hours: physically, mentally and emotionally stable as they go about their lives with a newborn.  Upon more reflection, I have come up with five suggestions for you to “try on” or “toss”, as needed.

There are no easy answers.  I really encourage our students and friends with babies to trust their heart when it comes to their child.  I recognize that some ideas from The Experts are worthwhile, so try/take what you need and works for your family, without breaking your heart in the process.  Then, toss the books, The Experts, and Read Your Child.  How is their temperament?  Their growth? Are the reaching milestones?  Does what you are choosing feel right for you, and right for your child?  Are they at/around a milestone time?  Believe it or not, learning new skills can mess with sleep as much, if not more, than teething!

In addition to that – how are you?  Do you have the support you need?  Are you connecting with other mothers in similar situations?  Have you formed a mama tribe? Are the people around you supportive? And if not, are you okay with your decisions? ARE YOU WAKING YOUR PARTNER UP TO HELP WITH CARE??

I emphasize the last questions because parenting is a team gig.  You cannot parent in a vacuum.  If there are two of you in the home, then the two of you need to participate in care.  We often hear, “But they have to go to work in the morning.” *crickets* SO DO YOU.

Whether mothers work at home, or work outside of the home, we have to show up, too.  Not zombie mama, tired mama, yelling mama…I can honestly say I hate it when she shows up at my house…so ironic as I write the wee hours of the morning in AZ.  Lucky for me, I am a 6-hr a night type of gal, and since I fell asleep at 8:00 pm, things are looking good for today.  Anyway, I digress.

Your best mama is needed every day.  So wake up your partner and have them help you if your baby (or child of any age) is still waking through the night.  Both of you are invested in your child, and this night waking thing is temporary.  Trust me, it too, shall pass.  We literally slept in shifts for a brief period last year.  It was crazy while we were in it; looking back, I am glad it’s over; and I can see now that it truly was temporary.


Sometimes it helps to get a routine going, and you can both get back to sleep.  THIS article has great tips on training your infant’s circadian rhythms without resorting to cry-it-out methods.  Our “infant” routine consisted of the baby waking, being passed off to Bruss for a diaper change while I got up to use the restroom (still! because making breastmilk also requires a hydrated mama), and then I would come back to a clean, dry baby, and I would sit down to nurse.  After passing off our nursling, Bruss would head to the kitchen, fix me a high-protein snack, deliver said snack, and then he would go back to bed.  I would nurse our baby until they were back asleep(!).  With some kiddos, we used an Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper, with others we did bed-sharing, and with some, as they got older, they were lovingly cradled into the crib in our room.

We followed each child’s cues, and they got back to sleep, we got back to sleep, and life moved on.

The other key that is so hard to follow is the old adage, “Sleep when the baby is sleeping”.  Yes, that means during the day, too, especially in the early postpartum days, or even when you have a toddler.  (As I sit in the middle of “being two” with Otter!)  I know: you have things to do, emails to answer, places to go.  This is written with much love in my heart: I don’t care.  I mean it – sleep when the baby is sleeping.  The best thing we ever did, and I can’t believe it took me four babies to get it right, was to take a babymoon.

We shifted priorities in our home.  For the first week, I stayed in bed with Otter.  That’s it.  It was A.Ma.Zing.  I didn’t look at the messy house, the kitchen, the scattered messes happening everywhere as our other children moved about their days.

Who else finds this image disturbing?  Amazingly, I was able to let it go and enjoy our Babymoon because I was intentional about prioritizing sleep over my need to organize and sort.

Who else finds this image disturbing? Amazingly, I was able to let it go and enjoy our Babymoon because I was intentional about prioritizing sleep over my need to organize and sort.

Our bedroom was clean, our bathroom was clean, and I just closed my eyes when we took our daily walk through the house to sit outside in the sun and get some fresh air.  Other than that, all meals were brought to our room, sometime the kiddos picnicked with us, other times, I ate while I snuggled with Otter and fell right back to sleep.

Most partners can take a week off of work if a grandparent is not able to help out in the postpartum period.  Whoever it is, let them take care of you, and take care of the other children, while all you do is sleep, sleep, and sleep between breastfeeding your infant.  If you can take more than a week, do it.  Other world cultures practice a 40-day period of rest and recovery.  If that is not your reality, know that getting rest and letting your body have a surge of healing time through your first week can make the rest of the postpartum period easier to handle.  Facing it as a rested person, and not a zombie, does wonders for your perspective.  Need more convincing?  THIS article from Birth Without Fear makes a great case for Mothering the Mother.

Newsflash:  There are great ways to make technology work in your favor and release any feelings of having “to do” something with anything that clicks.  Set up your email with an “Out of Office” auto-reply announcing your babymoon, and offer an alternative mode of contact if someone feels their business is urgent enough to warrant an immediate response.   Almost all social media platforms now have a “cover photo” option that pops up when people search for you.  Write an announcement and make it your “cover” to let people know you will be out of touch, soon to return.  And lastly, if you blog, enlist other people to write for you.  I had four wonderful teachers from my mama tribe step up and write guest posts for me while we enjoyed snuggling with our Sweet Pea.  Turn everything off, and sleep when your baby is sleeping.

It Can All Wait.

Learn to say YES.

  • To the friend who offers to set up a meal schedule.
  • To the visitor who offers to do housework (leave a list of chores they can choose from).
  • To the person who offers to leave your home and let you get some sleep.
  • What else??  Anything else that serves you, as uncomfortable as it might be to accept help.

Learn to say NO.

  • To the person who wants to come to visit during a sleep time.
  • To the person that wants you to help with something while you are on maternity leave.
  • To the outing that you can’t handle because you are too tired to go.
  • What else??  Anything else that will drain your energy reserves and keep you from sleeping.

As your baby gets older, it is so important to apply the same standards for your Yes’s and your No’s.  Avoid the temptation to fill your day full of activities, classes, and play dates *every* day.  Many of our students Just Say No to events that happen during nap time .  I am so proud of them, even if it means that we won’t get to see them or their Sweet Peas.

Another option in the postpartum period that is increasingly available is hiring a Postpartum Doula.  These women are trained in the postpartum care of a family.  To quote a doula we interviewed, “…what I do is much more than taking care of infants; a Postpartum Doula offers education, companionship and in-home support for families with infants.” They can be available to do light housework, prepare meals, care for the baby while you sleep, and some are even trained lactation counselors who can help identify and troubleshoot any breastfeeding challenges you may have.  Want to learn more?  HERE is the full interview on our Sweet Pea Births blog.

Truly, these women are invested in helping you have the best postpartum experience possible, and for a very reasonable fee.  As your baby ages, and if your budget can’t afford a nanny or weekly house cleaner, consider their doula fee your monthly “treat”.  Have them come over once a month to play with your baby, prep a meal, clean the kitchen – while you take the much needed nap.  I am not sure at which point in your child’s age they would want to terminate their services.  I guess it’s a question worth asking.

Please check our Resource Page for a list of Postpartum Doulas if you are in the Phoenix, AZ area.  If not, you can check out DONA International’s registry, or to connect with doulas in your geographic area.

It is my fervent hope that some of these ideas may work for you.  Everything is so much more manageable when you replace the “tired and tank empty” filter, with a “rested and tank is full” filter.

I also like learning new tips, so please feel free to share what worked for your family, or a link to your blog post about getting sleep and/or postpartum care in the comments.

What has worked for you to get more sleep in the postpartum period, or as your child develops before they start sleeping through the night?

PS: Another article I like about sleep training HERE

Monday Musings: Trust that you know

There are so many books about raising your child(ren).  There are so many experts with an idea, a book, a product to sell you that is going to solve all your childcare woes.

Except they are missing one thing.  They are missing what you know.  You, that may have carried your child for nine months.  Their DNA resides in your brain – you are literally connected to them.  If you are an adoptive family, there is still a connection that comes from living with your child.  With no preconditions or bias, you are open to receive the information that they offer about themselves.  You Know Them.

You know what you know.  Listen to what your heart is telling you.

  • Does your child fall asleep nursing?  Do you both get to sleep that way?
  • Does your child like to sleep next to you?  Can you find a safe sleeping situation so that you can stay close?
  • Does your child like to be held?  Can you find a great wrap that let’s you hold them and still tackle your List for the day?
  • Does your child leave food on their plate?  Are they developing and achieving growth milestones? And have you considered that maybe you are serving too much food?
  • Is your child refusing a certain food? Have you considered that maybe they have a food allergy and they are not being defiant or playing games?

From sleep, to feeding, to schooling, to play…everyone has an opinion.  I am going to write more about infant sleep tomorrow…these are just some thoughts that are rumbling around in my head as I research for that post.  It is so important for us as parents to Know That We Know Our Children.  No book, idea, or product has a sure-proof guarantee that it is the right thing to pursue with your child.  Only you can know that, and sometimes after trial and error.

I love the idea that I learned in La Leche League…treat all information sharing as a buffet…take what appeals to you/ works for you, and leave the rest.  Trust your instinct, love your child, and make the choices that you know are right for your family.  When you make a decision from a place of love, it is pretty hard to go wrong.

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Me…

This is one of “the games” on Facebook right now.  Since this is a sharing kind of place, and I am not “friends” with all our readers, here is what is on my mind today:

Here are 10 random things about me:

1. My earliest memories are of living in Italy. We lived there when I was 3-4.5 years old. Some of the ones that stand out: hiding from the doctor who gave me my shots, sitting next to my mom in bed when she was nursing my sister, and walking down the lane to get food from a neighboring farmer. I also remember going to a bakery for *the best* focaccia bread ever.

2. When I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina and a teacher. Although I never became a ballerina, I did pretty well as a professional ballroom dancer and in the dance “business” end, and I am teaching almost every day.  I have taught ballroom dance, dance studio staff, and business managers.  Now I teach pregnant couples and our children.

3. When I was 20, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, a type of hypothyroidism. I was told at the time that I would probably never have children.

4. When we married, our priest said a blessing over us as part of our marriage ceremony (in Central Park, NYC!). I felt the biblical “opening of the womb”, and clearly, we have had little problems conceiving. So blessed to have carried four children to term.

5. I have a running list of questions that I would like to ask God when I cross over. If not with Him directly, I hope we all get a personal conference with someone who has a direct line to all the answers. Do you think they have a Dewey decimal system, or Wikipedia, in heaven?  Also on my crossover wish list: I am looking forward to meeting angel children that were carried and never born on earth.

6. Among “best” decisions I’ve made in my life was to join a sorority.  I am in Delta Phi Epsilon, and the women I have met and still keep in touch with are amazing, lovely, inspiring, and encourage me to be better every day.  I wish we were closer, and on my bin list is to start an alumni chapter in my area.

7. If I could do anything in the world and know I would succeed, I would like to climb Mount Everest. In reality, I hate the cold weather and I will never aspire to that, although I would like to visit Nepal someday.

8. I wish I/we had the means to give every child in need, the education they need to follow their dreams.

9. Much to Puma’s embarrassment, stories that inspire me by their great lesson, valor or sacrifice make me cry. I cry more often than I care to admit when we are reading out loud. Thank goodness that there are as many humorous stories as there are inspiring stories.

10. I still get stage fright. Before every first class of the Bradley series, my body and my mind are not friends, and I can’t eat all day long. After that first class is over, I am ravenous and excited and can’t believe that I made a big deal about it…until the next series is about to begin.

Things that I hope you all know about me: I feel blessed to have married the most perfect man for me, we love our children, and we live to make a difference. It is my/our hope that we leave a legacy for our children, and that “the dash” is a worthy one.



Please “play” here if you are so inclined…leave me a comment with some random facts about you – you pick the number 🙂  I would love to learn more about you!!